Something to Celebrate - A Legacy of Love
By Larraine Paquette
Gordon and Frances Parker were so happy to be surrounded by such a wonderful group of friends at last month’s Harbour Lights, as they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary with a lovely cake following an inspiring performance and testimonies shared by the Back Porch singers about their recent trip to Japan.The whole afternoon was very special, and it meant a lot to Gordon and Frances to share this very special landmark in their lives with the dear folk at SBC who have been such a big part of their lives. For sure, everyone present was also remembering another special Harbour Lights event which took place in February of 2011 -- a reenactment of Gordon and Frances’ wedding. Gordon and Frances were chosen at that time as one of the couples in the church who had been married the longest.
A story which Dad (Gordon) loves to tell is how he first met Mom (Frances) at an annual picnic at the Experimental Farm in Summerland. Dad was a Trout Creek boy where his family had a small farm. Mom was born in Penticton and grew up on a fruit orchard on the middle bench. Her father, a war veteran, died when she was 8 years old and her mother took care of the orchard and raised two children on a small war widow’s pension.
So Gordon meets Frances – and how did that happen? He and his friend were riding their bikes to the annual picnic and offered a ride to two lovely Penticton girls, one of them of course, being Frances. It was love at first sight for Gordon. Unfortunately, however, when he looked at his bike afterwards, he realized that some of the fresh paint was missing and oh yes—you guessed it—Frances ended up with some bright blue stripes on her brand new dress. So Gordon found Frances and apologized and that was the beginning of a friendship that eventually ended in a happy marriage.
Frances and Gordon were married in Penticton on September 22, 1923 in the old Baptist Church. By that time, Gordon was in the air force and waiting for a leave so he could come home and marry Frances. Meanwhile, Frances and her mother were busy sewing dresses, and the church was ready for a wedding at a moment’s notice. Finally the day came. Gordon woke Frances early in the morning, by throwing pebbles at the window and they were married a few days later.
The happy couple left on the train for their honeymoon at the coast. Their happiness and love for each other must have been very evident because even the little Chinese gardener at the Butchart Gardens asked if they were on their “hunting moon”.
Seventy years later, having have had two children, 9 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren, Gordon and Frances are still very much in love, and are a pillar of love and strength for their whole family. Frances recently commented that the fact that they are Christians has been a major key to their happy marriage.
To read an article in the Penticton Herald that features Gordon and Frances, please click here.